Playing sports a challenge at Islamic schools
Louis Cristillo, a professor at Teachers College at Columbia University, who studies Muslim children and education in New York City, said that clothing aside, there is no inherent conflict between Islamic teaching and athletic development.
He says the main issue is that Islamic schools, like many private religious schools, are strapped for cash, so developing the infrastructure, like gyms, is too costly right now.
Cristillo says he thinks administrators are trying to address the issue with the resources they have. For example, Razi School in Queens has the luxury of being one of the only Islamic schools in New York or New Jersey to have a gym.
Cristillo said, "I was in Razi School a month ago talking with the principal and literally one of the teachers walked into the office and said 'we need to verify the schedule for the tournament coming up with Al Noor,' so it's happening. How formal it is, how institutionalized it is, I don't know."
This article appeared in the June 16, 2007 edition of the Arab American.